Dec 8 / Sam and Jim

Monday, December 8, 2008

I had another lesson with Jimmy yesterday and as an extra added bonus, Samantha Allan took a horse too. I just started taking lessons with Samantha and it’s amazing the progress I’m making. She is a longtime student of both Jimmy and Sharon White. Most recently she has schooled with Sharon, but wanted Jimmy to see her horse Everest – aptly named I might add. Samantha’s farm is only five minutes from mine, making it possible for me to have a weekly lesson with her. The fact that she was there yesterday was great for me because she now has the input from Jimmy to apply to my lessons.

As always, this lesson was very productive. I’m starting to analyze the feelings I’m getting from my Bird. I feel a lot from my horses, but when jumping I’ve not been able to take advantage of it, partly because I’ve been concentrating on trying to be in the right place. I still need work, but I’m getting it. Jimmy answered a question that was on my mind about leg position without even being asked.

The lesson centered around the horse waiting to go where the rider signals rather than anticipating the next jump. The jumps were set up so the horse and rider had several choices, making it impossible for the horse to know which one until the rider signaled, usually by turning his head over the preceding jump. That’s all my Bird needs. A one stride to a two stride oxer or angle left to a jump or right to another jump. Consequently, once the horse is going through the one stride he must wait for the rider to direct him to his next jump.
What happens in Birdies mind is a fantastic jumping festival. Did you ever see the Beggin’ Strips commercial where the dog is saying “BACON!!!”. That’s Birdie, only he’s exclaiming “JUMPING!!! WHICH ONE??? WHICH ONE???” I feel this and I get excited and now we’re both screaming “JUMPING!!!”, when I need to stay the same and say “Yes, Birdie we’re going left this time.” The long and short of it is (a) I felt this. (b) I realized what I was doing. and (c) I stopped reacting to Birdie’s excitement. Everything about our performance improved. Pretty neat.